Many of us aspire to be wise in the sight of others. We even push our children to the limits of mental capacity sometimes at the cost of their physical, social and spiritual development. To be wise or to want to be wise is not wrong, but we must first recognize what it means to be wise, according to the Bible.
First, the Bible says that the fool says in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). This makes the atheist and others who deny the existence of God to be fools. But before we jump to pass judgment, we ought to examine ourselves and all those who believe in God or in His existence, as well. The Bible says that the one who knows God and yet glorifies Him not as God, has his foolish heart darkened, and though he/she professes to be wise, he/she has become a fool (Romans 1:22). So just as the atheist is a fool, so is the one who knows God but lives his life as if He doesn’t. A true litmus test to know if we (who know God) are fools is, if you hear someone who is familiar with you, exclaim to you, “I did not know that you were a follower of Jesus Christ or a Christian”.
Second, the Bible says that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God and that the thoughts of the wise (which the LORD knows) are vain (1 Corinthians 3:19-20). Therefore again, we ought to glory not in men (1 Corinthians 3:21), and deceive ourselves. If we want to be wise, we must first become a fool (for Christ’s sake – 1 Corinthians 4:10) and any who seems to be wise in the world ought to become a fool, so that he may be wise (1 Corinthians 3:18).
The oxymoronic aspect here is this:
To be wise in the sight of the world is to be fool in the sight of God;
To be a fool in the sight of the world is to be wise in the sight of God.
Romans 1:21-22 (KJV)
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
1 Corinthians 3:18-21 (KJV)
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s;
1 Corinthians 4:10 (KJV)
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.